In a previous post, I have touched on SEM (search engine marketing) and how it refers to both SEO and PPC. In that post, I gave an introduction to SEO (search engine optimisation) and how you can generate free traffic to your website.
However, in this post, I am going to talk about PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, how and why it works and the advantages and disadvantages against SEO.
What is PPC?
PPC – pay-per-click advertising – is a model of internet marketing where you, the advertiser, pays every time you ad is clicked.
Quite simply, you choose keywords that you wish to bid on, choose the advert you wish to display and then the landing page you want visitors to visit.
For example, if you sell cosmetic formulation manufacturing and filling services, you might want to reach internet visitors looking for this service right? Therefore, it makes sense to advertise for keywords such as:
“third party manufacturing services”
“formulation manufacturing contractors”
“manufacturing and filling companies”
So when individuals are looking for services like this, you can display at advert to them, in the hope that they click it, like the look or your services an enquire for business.
Only when somebody clicks on your ad, do you pay a fee. The price of the fee varies on what keyword the user searches and then clicks on your ad, but the price range is somewhat predetermined by the bid range you set when you create your PPC campaign.
There are a range of different ad types that you can create; ads in the search results, display or text ads on other peoples websites.
How much do I need to spend to be successful?
PPC is a popular strategy that done well can bring in new business and more money.
The futility of PPC is that not every click that brings a visitor to your website won’t generate in any income. So, how is this beneficial?
Consider these example, with completely made up values.
Let’s say that each click costs £3. But you average just one sale for every 100 clicks. That’s £300 before you make a sale.
Although expensive on the face of it, what if that one sale generates you £2,000. And if you are selling a service, rather than a product, that’s £1,700 profit.
However, real life profit will vary from business to business, and campaign to campaign. If you know your margins, and willing to commit a budget per acquisition of a customer, you can scale this strategy further to bring in even more money to your business.
But don’t just stop there. Continually optimising your campaign can reduce the cost of acquisition and bring even more leads to your business.
Advantages of PPC
Obviously, I wouldn’t be talking about PPC unless there were some significant benefits to it. Here’s a list of the advantages, in no particular order.
PPC is the ultimate targeted internet marketing tactic. By setting up PPC, you are ensuring that you are putting the ads you create in front of the target audience you want to reach. If you have a product or service that you are trying to sell more of, you want to make sure that you are visible in front the people making these searches!
Generate traffic quickly
PPC can often be referred to as “pay to play”. This means, by agreeing to pay, you can get instant visibility for your website. Compare this to SEO and a content marketing strategy, where it can take months or even years to start become visible on page one of search engines!
Guarantee traffic for keywords you want
When you set up a PPC campaign, you are specifically targeting the keywords you want to be found for. If you sell lab consumables, a search by a user “lab consumables online” might be too generic; what do they want to know about lab consumables? Are they looking to find out more information about consumables, or are they looking to purchase them?
Therefore, by controlling the keywords you target with your PPC ads, you can choose the high buying intent keywords.
Only pay when people click
PPC means that you only pay when somebody clicks on your result. This is different to other forms of advertising such as display advertising where you pay a set fee to have banner ad on another website on a monthly or yearly basis for example.
Just like any function in a business, you want to ensure that you spend less than you make, a good ROI (return on investment).
By spending money on ads, you can directly measure how much you spend, and how much money these ads generate for your business. You can quickly understand what generates a positive ROI, and what generates the best ROI.
Every time somebody searches for a keyword that you have set up a PPC campaign for, your brand name will be visible. If this doesn’t generate a click through to your website, you pay no money, but you still generate free brand exposure by your name being amongst your competitors!
Full control of the content they see
For all the keywords you are targeting, you can control the content users see when they click through to your ad. This means you can create dedicated landing pages that have content highly relevant to the search query made, with a CTA designed to convert.
Disadvantages of PPC
Like most things in life, there are always advantages and disadvantages. This applies to PPC also. We’ve just covered the advantages, but what are some of the disadvantages.
Easily waste money
This goes without saying, but the risk with spending money up front, is that it could be easily end up as a waste. If nobody wants your product/ service, you won’t make any more money. And an PPC manager with little experience can easily make mistakes with bidding that can result in paying too much per click!
It is expensive
Even if you do set up a brilliantly optimised PPC campaign, that results in a low cost per click (CPC) and has a fantastic conversion rate, the cost of PPC is generally quite expensive compared to other advertising methods.
Badly optimised campaigns
You shouldn’t just set up a campaign and hope for the best. This is a terrible strategy to have and almost always ends badly. But if you are targeting the wrong keywords, your copy or visuals are poor, or your landing pages don’t convert. You are simply wasting money.
Exposure stops when you stop paying
Any sales or brand exposure, are related directly to you running ads. Once you stop spending money on PPC, any exposure or sales stop as your ads no longer remain for potential customers to find.
Should you run a PPC campaign?
PPC will not be suitable for all businesses.
Due to the high cost of PPC, it is often best used to promote high value products or services where you have no fixed costs. However, the cost will also be based on competitors who are trying to bid on the same keywords as you.
You also need to be able to spend money up front. If you are cash flow poor, then big spending on PPC may not be the best marketing activity to pursue.
However, utilising PPC alongside other digital marketing activities such as SEO can make your marketing greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Regardless, if you are going to take a step into PPC marketing, you need to ensure that you put somebody with significant PPC experience in charge of your campaigns to ensure the best results possible. After all, PPC done well can bring some significant business to your company and make your shareholders incredibly happy with the profit it can generate!